Hogan Lovells LLP is noted for its considered approach towards establishing a presence in Latin America. The firm is one of the small group of truly international firms who really have significant clout on the worldwide stage, and its global footprint includes a presence in three Latin American countries.
Hogan Lovells has a dual-city presence in Brazil, which it says best suits its broad offering by allowing it to capture a portion of the finance work coming out of São Paulo, while it made sense to serve clients on energy, infrastructure, and international arbitration matters out of Rio. Being near regular client Petrobras also proved a draw. More recently, the firm has found having talent on the ground alongside an experienced white-collar crime team in the US to be a valuable combination; Hogan Lovells handled the internal investigation of another of Brazil’s behemoths, Electrobras, after corruption allegations, reaching a landmark, simultaneous resolution in the US and Brazil in 2016. A very senior partner, Claudette Christian, oversees both offices, working alongside another prominent partner in São Paulo.
In Mexico, the firm has impressive full-service capabilities thanks to a well-rounded team of respected partners whose prestigious local firm was absorbed by Hogan Lovells. Meanwhile its Caracas office wins major financing and arbitration work, and clearly demonstrates how the firm’s strength in Asia (where there is strong business flow with Venezuela) adds real value for the practice. Indeed, the Asian presence gives the firm an edge in other countries that see investment from that part of the world, such as Ecuador. The Miami-based Miguel Zaldivar is central to the group, as is José Valdivia; with considerable experience and an excellent name in the region, he co-chairs the Latin American practice from Miami alongside Bruno Ciuffetelli in Houston and Caracas.
In terms of service offer, the Latin American team’s existing strength in energy, project finance and infrastructure is now matched by finance and insurance capabilities, as well as a very strong arbitration offering and an established white-collar crime practice that is increasingly relevant to the region.
The key Latin American talent is found across offices in Miami, Madrid, Caracas, Houston, New York and Washington, DC, as well as Mexico City and Monterrey, along with Rio and São Paulo in Latin America. The team has the support of over 45 closely coordinated offices overall, including a large presence in Asia and Europe.
Venezuela’s state-owned oil company PDVSA, its subsidiaries and the state itself have been a dominant presence on the firm’s client lists in recent years, through the office in Caracas. Significant work has been won for Pemex, as well as Ecuador’s state-owned hydro company Cocasinclair and oil company Petroamazonas. Meanwhile, the firm’s regular counsel to Brazil’s Petrobras contributed to its decision to open in Rio. The firm represented Eletrobras in an FCPA-related investigation. Guatemala’s Banco Industrial and G&T Continental, Ecuador’s Unión Cementera Nacional and Colombia’s Protabaco are other local names that turn to the firm, while Mexican real estate trust FIBRA Uno uses it for capital markets work. Spain’s Iberdrola, Wal-Mart and brewer SAB Miller are also key clients in the region. On the finance side, Export-Import Bank of China, the China Development Bank, Bank of New York Mellon and HSBC have all recently used the firm.
Project finance & infrastructure
Key partners: Global projects co-head Miguel Zaldivar, based in Miami, is capably supported by Latin American practice co-head José Valdivia, another key name. Claudette Christian in Rio brings valuable project finance muscle to the team, particularly given her close ties to the oil and gas world through work with Petrobras.
Analysis: Important presences in Beijing and London ensure there is a steady stream of work from Asian banks and companies seeking financing under UK law. Not only that, Asian ties have won the firm work in countries where other firms on this list are seen less: Ecuador for example. The firm’s office in Rio gives it an important base for energy work. Clients are typically on the sponsor side, although the team has been busy with lender work in the Andean countries.
Most recent deals
Key partners: Senior partner Claudette Christian is based in Rio in part to profit from Brazil’s oil and gas industry. In Caracas, Bruno Ciuffetelli and Luis Bottaro are both integral members of the team and have good links to PDVSA. Other relevant names here include David Moss, for upstream projects in Colombia and Venezuela. The Mexican office also has a strong team.
Analysis: The practice’s representation of state-owned oil companies is impressive, with Brazil’s Petrobras, PDVSA in Venezuela and Ecuador’s Petroamazonas on the books. Cash-strapped Petrobras has used the firm to sell off assets, while the team has won work in Mexico’s nascent private oil and gas industry.
Brazilian state-owned energy company Petrobras is relying on Hogan Lovells LLP in Rio de Janeiro and Washington, DC to sell its gas pipeline network in the country’s southeast, in a landmark transaction that may radically change the country’s mid-stream hydrocarbons market. Citla Energy, an independent Mexican oil exploration and production company, turned to the DC office to obtain US$200 million from the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and a Chinese-Mexican private equity fund managed by the IFC.
Key partners: Emil Arca is a very highly regarded structured finance lawyer based in New York, where he often works alongside Oscar Stephens. Russell DaSilva and Lewis Cohen (a regular on real estate trust work in Mexico) are also active, while capital markets partner Isabel Carvalho is prominent in São Paulo.
Analysis: The team is a known entity in Central America and has a strong profile in Mexico thanks to real estate capital markets deals. PDVSA has traditionally kept the firm busy in capital markets work, while Miguel Zaldivar and Evan Koster represent Ecuador in its sovereign debt transactions.
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Corporate and M&A
Key partners: José Valdivia in Miami, Jose Luis Vittor in Houston, Graciela Llaneza in Madrid and Derek Meilman in London are all prominent. Juan Francisco Torres-Landa leads a respected corporate practice in Mexico. Isabel Carvalho in São Paulo appears on Brazilian deals, while various other US offices contribute.
Analysis: The firm has good regional coverage, working on deals in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Peru in 2016.
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Antitrust & competition
Key partners: Venezuelan partner Bruno Ciuffetelli is a leading name in antitrust locally, although no one is able to maintain a strong practice domestically right now, as the regulator has not been quorate for some time. Ricardo Pons and Omar Guerrero lead a top-notch antitrust team in the firm’s Mexico office.
Analysis: Hogan Lovells has a leading competition practice globally, overseeing complex global deals requiring clearance in multiple jurisdictions that often include countries in Latin America.
Key partners: Richard Lorenzo, who manages the firm's Miami office, plays a prominent role in the practice, alongside experienced practice head Daniel González. Miguel Zaldivar combines his project finance work with arbitration. Outside of Miami, Gonzalo Rodriguez-Matos in Caracas is well known, while Oliver Armas (managing partner of the New York office) and Luis Enrique Graham have excellent reputations in the field, and Eduardo Siqueiros is a noted name alongside Graham in Mexico.
Analysis: The firm has a very large, strong arbitration team working on a number of critical cases at once; unlike other prominent firms in this list, their caseload has something of a bent towards commercial arbitrations, apart from some work for PDVSA. Hogan Lovells has a stronger showing in infrastructure and energy cases, although far from exclusively; it has ongoing work relating to Ecuador, Chile, Panama, Brazil and Mexico, as well as Venezuela. The firm has been representing Pemex, Mexico’s state oil company, in ICC arbitration and ensuing litigation over an award in the other side’s favour.
Work highlights: AES is using the firm for a dispute with Argentina over gas exports, where it is now seeking payment of an ICC award in the US court system.
White collar crime and compliance
Key partners: From Washington, DC, partners Peter Spivack, Ty Cobb and Douglas Paul handle mostly investigations. While Spivack and Cobb bring extensive DOJ experience with them, Paul adds the SEC perspective through his role as branch chief at the authority’s division of enforcement. Counsel Evans Rice adds further white-collar crime litigation capabilities and often represents individuals and companies in bribery allegations. Renowned arbitration partners Oliver Armas and Luis Enrique Graham strengthen the firm’s offering with their anti-corruption experience, while Juan Francisco Torres-Landa is also no stranger to this line of work in Mexico.
Analysis: Hogan Lovells has a growing reputation in the Latin American anti-corruption space, with its positioning on the ground in the region allowing it to combine a US/UK law perspective with local knowledge. Eletrobras, Brazil’s state-controlled electricity provider, hired the firm for its internal investigation relating to a potential violation of the FCPA.
Work highlights: In a ground-breaking settlement, Hogan Lovells’ client Embraer agreed to hire an independent external compliance monitor for up to three years, and to share the monitor reports imposed under the US settlement with Brazilian prosecutors, as well as with the US Department of Justice. It was the first FCPA case that saw a simultaneous resolution in Brazil, and the first instance where a company has parallel US–Brazil reporting responsibilities.
Most recent deals
Key partners: Chandri Navarro is a big draw for US and foreign companies, trade associations and foreign governments; they turn to her for trade and customs advice, legislative matters and lobbying assistance. Whether on the negotiation, drafting, lobbying or implementation side, Navarro has been involved in every trade preference programme and FTA put in place over the last two decades, including NAFTA, DR-CAFTA, the Andean Trade Preference Act and the US’ FTAs with Colombia, Peru and Chile. Another key figure is Jonathan Stoel, who focuses his practice on treaty-based claims, international investment protection, public international law and international trade issues. He has multiple Brazilian clients. A strong disputes string to his bow includes representing clients before arbitral panels at the WTO, NAFTA and the London Court of International Arbitration.
Analysis: Hogan Lovells has an impressive international trade law practice. The firm has a long-standing strategic alliance with international global consultancy, Albright Stonebridge Group.